Airbnb acquires last-minute booking service HotelTonight

Roman Schwartz
March 9, 2019

The logo of Airbnb is displayed at an Airbnb event in Tokyo, Japan, June 14, 2018.

In a statement announcing the acquisition, Airbnb said: "We are making it easier for people who use Airbnb to find last-minute places to stay when Home hosts are often already booked". It will also help the group tackle competition from other travel sites like Expedia and Priceline.

The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Community said: A big part of building an end-to-end travel platform is serving every guest, whether they plan their trip a year or a day in advance.

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The company has added guided tours and activities, luxury homes and restaurant reservations and is pursuing adding transportation services. Early previous year, the online booking giant expanded beyond its core focus of home sharing by enabling boutique hotel operators to list rooms on its platform. In 2018, the company doubled the number of boutique hotel, bed and breakfast, hostel, and resort rooms offered on its site while seeing guests book three times as many nights in these types of lodging compared to 2017.

Last-minute booking is HotelTonight's sweet spot. "You're on your way to a great stay", the company says on its website.

"We started HotelTonight because we knew people wanted a better way to book an unbelievable hotel room on-demand, and we are excited to join forces with Airbnb to bring this service to guests around the world", according to co-founder and CEO Sam Shank, who will lead Airbnb's boutique hotel category. But it faced huge pressure from investors to grow in a crowded industry. But it's a fair bet that Airbnb is sinking a significant sum into the acquisition. The HotelTonight app and website will continue to operate as they do today. Over time, Airbnb will add select boutique HotelTonight rooms, but will not change its standards for hotel listings. It was valued at more than $30bn in financing rounds between 2016 and 2017. Valued at $31 billion and profitable, it preparing for an IPO this year, and investors will be focused on its growth prospects. Based on this, Airbnb sees the acquisition of HotelTonight providing a positive impact for its home hosts in the long run.

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